I am happy being what I am.
When I started writing, I did have some idealised notion of my dad as a writer. But I have less and less of a literary rivalry with him as I've gone on. I certainly don't feel I need his approval, although maybe that's because I'm confident that I've got it.
Gain a modest reputation for being unreliable and you will never be asked to do a thing.
People say writing is really hard. That's very unfair to those who are doing real jobs. People who work in the fields or fix roofs, engineers, or car mechanics. I think lying on your back working under an oily car, that's a job.
When I went to Hong Kong, I knew at once I wanted to write a story set there.
There are two worlds: the world of the tourist and the world of everyone else. Often they're side by side. But the tourist doesn't actually see how people live.
A place that doesn't welcome tourists, that's really difficult and off the map, is a place I want to see.
Many small towns I know in Maine are as tight-knit and interdependent as those I associate with rural communities in India or China; with deep roots and old loyalties, skeptical of authority, they are proud and inflexibly territorial.
An island is a fixed and finite piece of geography, and usually the whole place has been carved up and claimed.
Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.
Anything is possible on a train: a great meal, a binge, a visit from card players, an intrigue, a good night's sleep, and strangers' monologues framed like Russian short stories.
What draws me in is that a trip is a leap in the dark. It's like a metaphor for life. You set off from home, and in the classic travel book, you go to an unknown place. You discover a different world, and you discover yourself.
I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better.
Travel magazines are just one cupcake after another. They're not about travel. The travel magazine is, in fact, about the opposite of travel. It's about having a nice time on a honeymoon, or whatever.
What strikes me about high-school reunions is the realization that these are people one has known one's whole life.
The two impulses in travel are to get away from home, and the other is to pursue something - a landscape, people, an exotic place. Certainly finding a place that you like or discovering something unusual is a very sustaining thing in travel.
Because of my capacity for listening to strangers' tales, or the details of their lives, my patience with their food and their crotchets, my curiosity that borders on nosiness, I am told that anyone traveling with me experiences an unbelievable tedium, and this is why I choose to travel alone.
Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Albert Camus, Graham Greene - they influenced my life to a profound extent.
Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.
Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going.